- Mike Trout 24, LAA – This just in…dude is pretty good. Seems like he’s been mashing the ball for about 7-8 years now. Hard to believe he is only 24. A stat line in 2015 of .299/104/41/90/11. A lot of people were complaining that he had a down year. Wow we have high standards for this guy. With respect to Harper and Goldschmidt, Trout is the best player on earth right now. Last season he had some amazing peripheral stats like a .415 wOBA / 9.0 WAR / .344 BABIP / 40.8 Hard Hit Rate. If he can bring down his k rate from its semi-lofty 23.2 he would see all other stats increase to get even better. How could you not want this guy on your team? If you have the 1st pick in your draft grab him without thinking twice. My projections for 2016 are .307/112/40/109/20.
- Bryce Harper 23, WSH – Harper is the closest to Trout and he is coming off a fantastic season that won him the NL MVP trophy. Before I place him #1 on this list I want to see if he can repeat this output for a second year. With a line of .330/118/42/99/6 he truly dominated at the plate. Harper had a k rate of 20% compared to a BB rate of 19%…crazy!!. He had a.369 BABIP / .461 wOBA / 9.5 WAR / 1.019 OPS / 40.9 Hard Hit Rate. I am not seeing anything he can improve on from there. He seemed to avoid the injury bug this season well…it was more running into walls that he avoided. If he can stay healthy and repeat last years stats Hands down best player in the league. My projections for 2016 are .318/108/41/103/17
- Andrew McCutchen 29, PIT – The model of consistent big time production who lives in the shadow of the two men listed above him. “Cutch” has played at least 146 games in each of the last 6 seasons. Last year he did just about everything, as is the case his entire career. He hit for average (.292) power (23 HR’s) & a (38.9% Hard Hit Rate), Speed (11 SB’s) Ability to get on base (.380 wOBA) For Andrew it was a bit of a down year so here’s hoping he gets things back on track in 2016. My projections for 2016 are .308/90/25/93/12.
- Giancarlo Stanton 26, Mia – Some wondered why Giancarlo ( Don’t call me Mike) would want to sign a 10 year contract with the Marlins. Except of coarse for the 30+ million per season. Everyone kept saying he may get 40+ home runs per year but his RBI totals will be around 70. Well, as per Jeffery Loria’s promise they are starting to build a competitive team round him. Jose Fernandez, Dee Gordan, Christian Yelich, Justin Bour & J.T. Realmuto just to name a few show the Marlins are trending up and will get better as long as they stay healthy. We all know that Stanton the 6’6″ tree of a man hits a lot of home runs but if you factor in the that he hits the ball harder then anyone (HHR of 49.7%). If he can lower his 29.9% k rate hitting the ball so hard will raise his BABIP and consequently all of his counting stats. He just needs to spend more time healthy although most of the injuries he suffered were not his fault they were more fluky in nature. My projections for 2016 are .75/90/43/105/10.
- Mookie Betts 23, BOS – Last season Mookie Betts sure did deliver on the potential he has flashed in his brief career and probably surpassed the projections that most had for him. A line of .291/92/18/77/21 tells the story. He sure seems like a Andrew McCutchen clone. Hitting in that Red Sox lineup, home park and frankly the hitter friendly parks of the entire AL East. Mookie is in a great spot and with another year of hitting against MLB pitching he seems to still be on the incline. My projections for 2016 are .302/103/25/108/25.
- A.J. Pollock 28, ARI – The best fantasy player that no one
knowsknew about. Pollock who was the 17th overall pick in by the D-backs in 2009. I’m looking but i cant seem to find a fault in his game. His hitting line last season was .315/111/20/76/39. Hitting before Goldschmidt in the lineup helps but, there seems to be nothing that Pollack cannot do. It’s not like this came out of nowhere . A.J. has hit well at every stop in the minors and has shown a steady uptick in his big league production. I’m not sure if he is going to be able to hit 20 home runs again but everything else seems sustainable. My 2016 projections are .321/110/18/86/33.
- Chris Davis 29, BAL – Boy did “Super Agent” Scott Boras work his magic once again. He found a way to make the Orioles panic by calling their bluff. So now that Davis has his super contract in tow which will have him manning first Base / DH for the Orioles until he is 47. For 2016 (as long as MLB allows him to take Adderall) The power hitting first baseman should once again get used to hitting in the very hitter friendly Camden yards and well, the AL East.His 41.4% hard hit rate and the amount of walks he took (88) are amazing but boy does he strike out A LOT! My projections for 2016 are .252/87/41/116/3.
- J.D. Martinez 28, DET – J.D. was very good when in the minors but every time the Astros called him up…he was just OK. The Astros gave him some platoon work in 2011,2012 & 2013. They saw a good hitter but he was a corner outfielder that would average 10-15 Hr’s per year. Aware of his own mortality he overhauled his swing by trying to give up some contact for more lift. It seems the Tigers saw this and brought him in to start at AAA in 2014. Well, he went and hit 10 Hr’s in his 17 games in AAA. Needless to say he was called up to Detroit quickly and has never looked back. A great season in 2014 lead him to an amazing season in 2015.The regression never came. Needless to say i see no reason at age 28 for the fun times to stop. My projections for 2016 are .279/87/34/104/4.
- Charlie Blackmon 29, COL – Take away the “Product of Colorado” label for this guy. There may be a few home runs that are helped by it but Charlie Blackmon is not a HR hitter alone. The real words for his game are hitting and speed. Charlie would be the lead off hitter for just about any team in the league. He has a great command of the strike zone (92.3% Zcontact rate) & a (6.2% swinging strike rate). After that he can produce a ton of extra base hits. In 2015 his batting average was .287 and he had a hard hit percentage of 32.7% this explains his ability to amass 176 hits including 31 doubles, 9 triples & 17 HR’s. He also sports a wOBA of .345 which is good but with some added patience at the dish it would be a huge bonus to the numbers he would give you. Oh…I almost forgot to mention that only three players recorded more than 40 stolen bases last season. Billy Hamilton, Dee Gordon and ___? You guessed it Charlie Blackmon had 43 SB’s last season. My 2016 projections are .292/90/15/65/41.
- Lorenzo Cain 29, KC – 2015 was a great year for Lorenzo as the game started to slow down for him and he was able to orchestrate a break out year personally and it’s also pretty cool when that breakout helps win your team the World Series. In 2011 Lorenzo enjoyed a full season with the Royals AAA club where he posted a line of .312/84/16/84/16. After a few seasons of trying to adjust to the large leap from AAA to the majors it looked like he figured things out to start the 2014 season in which his stats almost mirrored those in 2011. Except for less power and more stolen bases. 2015 came and so did the power in a jump from 5 to 16 HR’s. He kept the speed as well to make him a very dynamic addition to your team that produces in every category. Some see a regression for him this season but it looks to me as i check his BABIP, k – BB rates and hard hit percentages that this could very well be sustainable at least for the next 2 or 3 seasons of his prime years. My 2016 projections are .301/89/15/71/21.